Destin Rodeo board election is Feb. 2

Staff reports

Although it’s only been less than three months since weighmaster Bruce Cheves called “time is” and weighed the last fish, it’s time to start planning for the 69th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

The annual general membership meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Feb. 2 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. Complimentary heavy hors d’eouvres and non-alcoholic beverages will be served, and a cash bar will be available.

Three new directors will be elected at the meeting. This year’s slate of candidates includes long-time rodeo volunteers, participants and captains.

On the ballot is photographer Jake Brashears of For Reel Photos; Isabel Graef, former chairman and wife of Capt. Mike Graef of the Huntress; Tina Harbuck, sports writer/photographer for The Destin Log and current board member; and Capt. Eric Thrasher of the Game On and current board member. There will also be write-in spaces available for additional nominations.

Voting is limited to rodeo members in good standing, but it's easy to become a rodeo member. Memberships cost $25 for individuals and $35 for families and can be paid the night of the meeting, by visiting the rodeo website at www.destinfishingrodeo.org, by mail (P.O. Box 296, Destin, FL 32540) or by dropping by the office beside the Destin Community Center.

The fishing rodeo, Destin’s oldest tradition, is a volunteer based nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote recreational fishing within Destin; strengthen the claim of the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village; and to foster good sportsmanship and safe fishing among the general public by providing an organized competition for recreational fishermen.

Every year more than 35,000 anglers converge on Destin for the month-long October tournament, hoping to reel in that trophy-winning catch.

But members and volunteers are needed to make it all happen. The rodeo needs people whose interest range from fishing to beauty pageants to everything in-between.

The night of the general meeting, members will get the chance to sign up for various committees such as the rules committee, awards, marketing, judges and Miss Destin pageant committee.

In order to assure continued growth, the rodeo needs members to bring their ideas to the committees. The rules and awards committees will begin meeting in February to set the direction for the 2017 rodeo.